CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly’s lawyers began mounting a defense Thursday in Chicago against federal charges of child pornography, enticement of minors for sex and fixing his 2008 state trial, with an initial witness contending the singer was himself a victim of blackmail.
The presentation to jurors won’t include Kelly taking the witness stand.
Judge Harry Leinenweber asked Kelly directly on Thursday if he would testify, and the Grammy Award winner said he would not.
The judge raised the issue minutes before attorneys for Kelly and two co-defendants began calling their first witnesses, endeavoring to counter two weeks of government testimony.
R. Kelly isn't the only person on trial - his co-defendants include the singer's longtime business manager Derrel McDavid and Milton Brown.
McDavid, who is accused of help rig Kelly's 2008 trial, said he would testify.
Brown, who is charged with receiving child pornography, said he wouldn't be testifying.
Kelly could face additional years in prison if convicted of one or two charges stemming from this case.
The singer was sentenced to 30 years in prison in June for racketeering and sex trafficking.
Closing arguments are set to happen in the middle of next week.